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“Let’s Talk iPhone” Event Rumor Roundup

Tomorrow morning, Apple will hold a press conference in Cupertino, where CEO Tim Cook is widely expected to introduce the next-generation iPhone, a new iOS 5 feature called “Assistant”, and a refreshed line-up for Apple’s iPod family. However, speculation has been running wild in the past months as to whether Apple will announce not one, but two different iPhone models, or perhaps even an iPhone 4 revision to target the low-end market. With rumors of upcoming Facebook integration, voice-recognition features and cheaper iPhone 4 models, Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” may turn out to be bigger than expected. Or, as the name of the event suggests, perhaps the company will only focus on the iPhone, leaving other announcements for press releases and minor store updates in the next weeks.

In this post, we’ve rounded up the most recent October 4th rumors and predictions, some old rumors that haven’t been reported in a while, as well as last-minute speculation on what Apple will introduce tomorrow.

Come back tomorrow at 10 AM Pacific on MacStories for our coverage of Apple announcements.

iPhone 4S: This is the device that Apple is rumored to unveil as the “next-generation iPhone” tomorrow. Initially described as an “iPhone 5 inside an iPhone 4 case” for developers’ testing back in April, the iPhone 4S with codename N94 should pack an A5 processor, 1 GB of RAM, SGX 543MP2 GPU (same as iPad 2), GSM-CDMA dual mode, HSPA+, same 3.5-inch screen and design of the existing iPhone 4. The device will come with a new software featured called Assistant for voice-recognition, and possibly a new panoramic photo functionality, likely related to the (rumored) new 8 MP camera. The iPhone 4S name has been spotted on packaging for third-party cases, carrier websites and even Apple’s iTunes 10.5 beta. In the past months, several leaked parts and components have suggested the 4S will share the same design of the iPhone 4, only with largely improved specs.

iPhone 5: The confusion caused by the “iPhone 5” name is due to the fact that it’s been widely used to generally indicate the new iPhone (iPhone 5 comes after iPhone 4) as well as a “completely redesigned” device, as opposed to the iPhone 4S. In fact, several analysts and industry sources believe Apple will announce two new iPhones tomorrow, a 4S for the low-end, and a “real” iPhone 5 as top-line device. The iPhone 5 was rumored to feature a new design months ago, although over time some of its alleged specs have overlapped with the iPhone 4S (improved camera, A5 CPU, 8 MP camera). The distinctive rumor about the iPhone 5 is a new “teardrop” design with tapered edges and thinner form factor, possibly a bigger screen with edge-to-edge LCD and a new “elongated” Home button.

No parts or internal components of the iPhone 5 have been leaked, suggesting such device hasn’t entered production yet and won’t be announced tomorrow.

More iPhone 4S/5 rumors in our roundup.

A concept video showing the rumored functionality of iOS 5 Assistant.

Cheaper iPhone 4: Codename N90A, this device is expected to be a new entry in the iPhone 4 family with only 8 GB of storage. The iPhone 4 has codename N90, suggesting this is a minor revision that’s been built for cheaper price and, presumably, the prepaid market, although many are speculating Apple could also sell the “cheaper” iPhone 4 for free on a two-year contract. Pricing options aside, the cheaper iPhone 4 has entered Apple’s internal inventory system, and has been spotted in Brazil.

White iPod touch: This year’s iPod touch refresh is expected to be a minor one, with a new color option following the white iPhone’s launch earlier this year and, according to other rumors, updated CPU and GPU for better graphics performances. Little else is known about the fifth gen iPod touch, with a few reports even suggesting there won’t be a new iPod touch at all, but only new white models.

Updated iPod nano: MacRumors reports the updated iPod will have codename N20A in what is expected to be a minor revision of last year’s model. Parts showing a new iPod nano with camera surfaced earlier this year, but recent rumors haven’t mentioned anything new about the iPod nano.

iPod classic & shuffle: A report from last week claimed Apple may soon discontinue the iPod classic, which didn’t get an update at last year’s music event. Alongside the classic, the same report also mentioned the iPod shuffle, which got an update last year, but isn’t nearly as popular as the new iPod nano. Contradicting reports indicate the iPod classic won’t be discontinued this year, but the recent removal of “iPod Click Wheel Games” from the iTunes Store pointed towards Apple preparing the end-of-life for its older non-iOS iPods.

iOS 5 GM: iOS 5 beta 7 was seeded to developers on August 31 and September has gone by without a beta 8 or GM seed. Apple usually seeds a golden master seed of major releases before the public version, asking third-party developers to get ready for the new OS at the same time. Tomorrow’s event isn’t developer-focused, but Apple has released GM builds at media events before, and such timeframe would allow the company to meet its rumored October 14th release date for the new iPhone (GM seeds typically take a week to test, and major OS releases are launched a few days ahead of a new iPhone model).

Facebook announcements: In spite of the clear focus on the iPhone for tomorrow’s event, many have suggested there could be some sort of major Facebook announcement on stage. Rumors are pointing to the release of the long-awaited iPad app, as well as a partnership between Apple and Facebook to bring Facebook integration to iOS 5, and create an HTML5-based development platform for web apps.

International iCloud music rights: A report from CNET claims Apple is trying to secure international music rights for iCloud with music labels and publishers. CNET doesn’t specify whether this refers to iTunes in the Cloud’s “past purchases” and push for music or iTunes Match as well, but it does note that Apple has been trying to ink a deal for a possible October 4th announcement.

Old Rumors

Updated Apple TV: Separate rumors from March and July suggested the next-generation Apple TV model would get an A5 processor for 1080p video playback. Currently, the Apple TV is A4-based and natively plays back video at 720p. Recent speculation and rumors, however, haven’t mentioned a new Apple TV at all.

iWork 11: A new version of Apple’s desktop iWork suite has been in the rumor mill since last year, and it was even expected to debut with the Mac App Store. iWork 11 never showed up, but in the meantime Apple brought iWork to the iPhone and started testing a new version with iCloud integration. A new version of iWork for Mac will appear, eventually, and it seems like a good guess that it’ll feature some sort of native iCloud support for documents.

Software Update Cache: Before WWDC, Apple was rumored to be integrating iCloud with devices like Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme for a new “software update cache” functionality that would allow iOS devices (and Macs) to easily receive cached updates without having to download them. The Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme were updated this summer with no major changes, although references to software update caching had been spotted in code. According to early rumors, this new functionality should work with iOS 5 and iCloud.

FaceTime over 3G in iOS 5: Back in June, FaceTime was rumored to be getting an update with 3G compatibility. Apple did confirm at WWDC that FaceTime would get “improved video quality” in iOS 5, but 3G support for video-calls hasn’t appeared in recent rumors. It’s possible carriers may be pushing against such feature.

Last Minute

DirectTV-like iPad app: Robert Scoble hints on Google+ at a possible DirectTV-like app from Apple “without the dish”. He claims such app has been built on top of Apple’s new data center (which, curiously enough, was previously rumored to be the foundation of a Netflix-like service from Apple) and that it’ll feature sharing options (possibly tied to Facebook, which Scoble also says will appear at Apple’s keynote tomorrow).

iPhone 3GS: Arnold Kim of MacRumors says he’s heard the iPhone 3GS won’t be discontinued anytime soon. Reports in the past months claimed Apple would cease 3GS production to leave room for the iPhone 4 in the low-end.

Keynote presentation: Most likely presided by CEO Tim Cook and other key Apple executives, although (as usual) some people are wondering whether Steve Jobs (now Chairman of the Board) will make an appearance or not.

Update October 3rd, 6:30 PM Pacific time

Business Insider claims an Apple-Facebook announcement has “0% of chance” of happening tomorrow. Quoting “an industry insider familiar with Facebook’s mobile operations”, the website also reports the Facebook iPad app is sitting in “an approval limbo”.

9to5mac claims to have pricing details of the new iPhone 4S: $299 for a new 64 GB model,$199 for 32 GB, and 16 GB version dropping down to $99 in the US. The new 8 GB iPhone 4 (N90A) should replace the 3GS at $49, and the iPhone 3GS will be kept around as previously rumored, for free with two-year contract. Furthermore, 9to5mac corroborates the rumored October 14th release date for the new iPhone.

Update October 4th, 5:45 AM Pacific time

Matt Brian of The Next Web has posted photos of the Covent Garden retail store in London, which will host a private video feed for selected European journalists.

Update October 4th, 7:10 AM Pacific time

The Next Web reports that, according to “sources familiar with Apple’s plans”, Apple will release an iPhone 4S today with new 8 MP camera, improved GPS, and same design of the iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 with “teardrop design” is apparently just a prototype for a future device, and the iPhone 4S is said to feel like an “high-end device”. The new 8 MP camera should output photos at a resolution of 3264 × 2448 pixels.

Update October 4th, 9:00 AM Pacific time

The Guardian reports iTunes in the Cloud has been cleared for launch in Europe, with Apple signing a deal with the four major music labels, and ready to announce a European rollout today. The website also claims, however, that the subscription-based iTunes Match wouldn’t launch alongside other iCloud music services. Additionally, according to The Guardian’s sources, Tim Cook will announce the discontinuation of the iPod classic after 10 years today.

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